Everyone see little specks or strings floating through their vision from time to time, but a sudden increase of your floaters could be a sign of retinal detachment — an eye emergency that could result in blindness. Prompt action can save your vision.
We now share the symptoms of a detached retina so you know what to do in the case of this eye emergency.
Signs of a detached retina
Your retina is the part of the back of your eye where light focuses and is converted to electrical signals that travel along your optic nerve to your brain. Retinal detachment is when the wall of retinal cells pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that nourish it.
A detached retina doesn’t cause any eye pain or even a headache, but it can change your vision. For example, the most common warning sign is a sudden increase in the number of floaters in your eye. It might look like a waterfall of floaters sliding over your field of vision. You might also experience:
- Flashes of light in one or both eyes
- A shadow curtain over your visual field
- Reduced peripheral (side) vision
- Sudden blurry vision
These symptoms can be disorienting, but don’t panic — take action.
What to do if you think you have a retinal detachment
If you develop any of these symptoms, call our team here at Retina Specialists and get immediate treatment and advice. With offices in Dallas, Desoto, Plano, Mesquite, Waxahachie, Texas, our team of expert ophthalmologists can offer convenient, same-day diagnosis and treatment for eye emergencies like a detached retina.
In most cases, our ophthalmologists perform emergency surgery to repair your eye. The operation is known as a vitrectomy. They remove the vitreous that’s pulling on your retina and replace it with a gas or oil bubble that guides your retina back into place. In some cases, your surgeon places a scleral buckle around your eye to keep your retina from moving while your eye heals.
What causes retinal detachment
There are three types of retinal detachment: rhegmatogenous, tractional, and exudative.
A rhegmatogenous retinal detachment is the most common type. It occurs when a small hole in your retina allows fluid to accumulate underneath it. This creates pressure that pulls the retina away from the underlying blood vessels and tissues.
A tractional retinal detachment is caused by scar tissue on your retina. Scar tissue could develop because of leaking blood vessels caused by diabetic retinopathy or extreme myopia (nearsightedness).
Exudative retinal detachment occurs when you have fluid between your retina and the wall of blood vessels, but no tear in the retina that allows fluid to accumulate. It’s more often due to another injury or eye conditions like macular degeneration.
Your chances of developing a retinal detachment increase with age. Most rhegmatogenous retinal detachments are simply the result of age-related changes to your vitreous fluid — the gel substance that fills your eyeballs.
If you’re diabetic, keeping your blood sugar well-controlled is important to eye health. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to abnormal blood vessel growth on your retina, which contributes to tractional and exudative retinal detachments.
If you have a family or personal history of retinal problems or extreme myopia, or you had a previous eye injury or surgery, your risk of a detached retina increases. Make sure you understand your risk factors and the signs of a retinal detachment so you can take action quickly and save your sight.
Also, make sure to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams so we can monitor and track your retinal health. Call the nearest office to make an appointment.